4.28.2012

Flowers in the Valley

I've shared a good deal about the events of this last December and how they radically changed what we thought would be coming in 2012.  


They have been raw posts.


I also want to share just a bit of what we have come to know.  That... "yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." Psalm 23


Do you know what I have discovered about the valley?


There are beautiful flowers there.


And these flowers only grow there.  There in the Valley of the Shadow.


So, what happened next in December would hardly seem on the surface to be the beginning of the Lord showing me some of what He was wanting to teach me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death...but it truly was.


I had gone to bed the night of December 30th and woke up the next morning in an ambulance.  I soon discovered that I was there because I had had a grand mal seizure while I was sleeping and my wonderful, loves-me-so-much, hero of a husband had called 911.  I know it was one of most terrifying things he has experienced.


[Just so you know...I am fine now and have not had another seizure since.  An underlying hormone imbalance combined with the intense stress of Luke's death is what the neurologists believe caused the seizure to happen.  The hormone imbalance is being treated and I am doing much better.]


God used this in a powerful way...as He promises me He will.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  You see in the days preceding the seizure and subsequent 2 day hospitalization, I knew in my head that Luke is so much better off with the Lord than with us.  I knew in my head that he is whole and healthy and all of the wounds of life upon his body and spirit were totally healed.  I was happy in my head that he is with his perfect Daddy.  


But my heart was struggling to take hold of what I knew. 


I sat in a hospital for 2 days having procedure after test after scan run.  Our friends and family surrounded us in the most amazing outpouring of love and support.  I saw my husband's immense love for me poured out in the most tender and protective of ways.  


But none of that made me want to be in the hospital being poked and prodded over and over.


In the midst of all of that, the Lord reminded me that this was just 2 days...for Luke it would have been something he experienced regularly.  In those 2 days, I got just a glimpse of what life would have been like for him...even with loving family to support and care for him...and it made my heart rejoice that he would never have to see any doctor other than the Great Physician again.


My heart finally was able to feel some of what my head knew.  There was a sense of relief for Luke that he wouldn't have to experience this again.


The Lord has been teaching me much since Luke's death.  It has been an exceptionally rich and intimate time with the Lord.  A time of growth in intimacy with my Father, Savior, and Lord that has been in proportion to the pain of the trial.


This was just the tip of the iceberg of what the Lord wanted to show me...I could never share it all...but I can share some.


To be continued...


In Him,

4.22.2012

Full-fledged Walker!

Lily has become a full-fledged walker within the last month or so.   Up to that point she would take 2-5 steps and then go back to crawling.  

But that was then.  

Now my little Lily is up and about almost all of the day.

Take a look at a video Emma took of her....

video

In Him,

4.07.2012

Saturday



A close friend of mine sent me this devo the other day about what the disciples must have been going through when they thought Jesus was dead.  
It really ministered to me as I've become acquainted with grief these last months.  
I pray it ministers to you this...Saturday.
Saturday must have been a long and dark day. Not only did they hide in fear of their lives, but even worse, they grieved deeply. Jesus was gone. His disciples had watched the soldiers carry him off to his execution the day before. Now it was Saturday, their master was dead and the grief cut deeply, leaving them utterly hollow.
They had not signed up for this. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah. He was supposed to lead them to victory over their oppressors. He was supposed to establish Israel as a strong nation once again and allow them to bask in the joy of sweet justice. Pain, grief, and sorrow were not part of the package.
Perhaps you have felt like the disciples that dark Saturday. I know I have. Over a fifteen-month period in my life I experienced the deaths of a friend, two grandmothers, my father-in-law, and the church that we had planted, as well as the near death experiences of a sister-in-law and a niece. Wham! There I was. It seemed like everything around me was dying. I didn't sign up for this. I thought the way of following Jesus was one of victory and peace. All I felt was pain and despair. Actually, I had lost the ability to feel. I wish I could say that I handled it with poise and dignity, quietly nodding and smiling, quoting pithy platitudes about God's sovereignty. I didn't. I toggled between numb denial and irritating doubt. I wondered if perhaps I didn't measure up. Perhaps God was punishing me for something. Perhaps I'd been duped all these years and the universe really was a cold and empty place.
I have to think that the disciples had similar feelings on that dark Saturday. It seemed as if all hope was gone. We feel this way because we forget an important truth. The way of Jesus is a way of pain, grief, and sorrow. Jesus suffered much in his life - even before his arrest and execution. As a child he knew what it meant to be hidden in Egypt in fear for his life. He knew the loss of his stepfather, Joseph. He wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus. He grieved over the blindness of the citizens of Israel. He agonized to the point of blood in the garden of Gethsemane. He screamed out in the words of his ancestor, David, as he hung on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?"
But Jesus told us it would be this way. In John's account of Jesus' final teaching Jesus said that God would prune the branches that clung to the Vine (John 15:1-17). Pruning hurts. To have large parts of your life severed from you is not a pleasant experience. There is no joy in the sensation of shears cutting into your flesh. Yet, as the Great Gardener knows, without pruning there is no life.
That is the way of Jesus - the way of God's love and grace. God purifies us with pain. The disciples learned this and went on to write to the churches about it. James said to consider it pure joy when we suffer various trials, because in the end it makes us complete and strong. Peter told us that suffering refines our hearts like fire refines gold. Then Paul, as he described the painful process of working through persecution and breaking down the walls of prejudice, reached the climax of the whole process with one word - hope.
Saturday was finally over. On Sunday the disciples came face to face with a reality that is deeper than grief. They met hope. Jesus plowed through pain and grief and came out the other side alive once more. Saturdays will come. Of that you can be sure. They will come and they will be painful. They may last a day; they may last twenty months. When they come, remember this - without Saturday we don't get to Sunday. The love of Jesus is our hope for today and forever. We will grieve, but we can grieve with hope.
 


In Him,